Serena Coetzee

Serena Coetzee

Head of Department: Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology

Professor: Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology

Program Coordinator: BScHons Geoinformatics

email: [email protected]
Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 3823
Office: Geography Building 1-3.7
Consultation: By appointment via [email protected]za 

Research profile

My research focuses on the ever-increasing volumes of geospatial information and the management and governance challenges related to making it available, accessible and usable. The research is interdisciplinary, mainly in GISc, cartography, information systems and technologies, and contributes to understanding and solving these challenges in the context of SDIs, based on open principles and standards, often at municipal level for address data. The problem statements or case studies typically originate from practical challenges in South Africa.

I chair the Commission on SDIs and Standards of the International Cartographic Association and actively participate in the development of geographic information standards in ISO (International Organization for Standardization) through ISO/TC 211, Geographic Information/Geomatics, and SABS/TC2 11, Geographic information. I was project lead for ISO 19160-1:2015, Addressing – Part 1: Conceptual model, am now leading ISO191 60-2, Addressing – Part 2: Assigning and maintaining addresses for objects in the physical world, and contributed to other parts of ISO 19160. I was also project lead for the three parts of SANS 1883, Geographic information – Addresses, between 2009 and 2018. This work facilitates the assignment of addresses, e.g., in former townships, rural areas and informal settlements, and contributes to the online capturing and verification of addresses as required for e-commerce, e-governance, elections and financial intelligence.

From 2016 to 2020, I represented the Council on Higher Education on the South African Geomatics Council, and since 2016, on the Committee for Spatial Information, responsible for implementing South Africa’s SDI. Involvement in standards and statutory bodies is valuable for my research, as it helps me to conceptualize geospatial information challenges in practice.

In 2022, I received the Society of South African Geographers (SSAG) Gold Medal, an honorary award in recognition of meritorious contribution to geography in South Africa. In 2019, I was a finalist in the TW Kambule-National Science and Technology Foundation (NSTF) Awards for Researchers for contributions through research and its outputs over a period from 6 up to 15 years in South Africa, and received a Geo-information Society of South Africa (GISSA) award for the ‘Advancement of the geospatial industry’.



  • BSc Computer Science and Mathematics - University of Pretoria
  • BSc (Hons) Computer Science (cum laude) - University of Pretoria
  • Higher National Education Diploma (HNED) - University of Pretoria
  • MSc Computer Science (cum laude) - University of Pretoria
  • PhD Computer Science - University of Pretoria


Courses presented

Honours (BScHons)

  • GIS 705 - Advanced geospatial data (2020-present)
  • GIS 701 - Research methods (2016-present)
  • GIS 702/UNI 792 - Research project (2011-2020)
  • GIS 703/UNI 791 - GIS professional practice (2011-2019)
  • COS 787 - Spatial databases (2009-2016)
  • VRS 780 - Distributed systems (2006-2008)

Undergraduate (BSc)

  • GMC 110 - Cartography (2017-present)
  • GIS 120 - Introduction to Geoinformatics (2012-2016)
  • GMT 320 - Geoinformatics project (2014)
  • COS 326 - Databases systems (2007-2010)
  • COS 343 - IT Trends (2006)
  • COS 151 - Introduction to Computer Science (2009-2010)
  • COS 130 - Introduction to programming (2006-2008)
  • COS 333 - Programming languages (2006)

Research publications

Please click here for the profile on Research Gate. Publications available through the UP repository: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3.

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